They set high standards.
All they need is a sigh or a gesture. When that happens, you know what ever you have done, was not “really” good enough, for they know you could have done better. “Your report card is good, but, *sigh*, if only you would live up to your potential.” Some would say it is criticism. Better to think of it as an almost unlimited faith in their child’s abilities, that you *can* do better. And after all is said and done, looking back shows, they are almost always right.
They are pack rats.
Go up in the attic, crawlspace, or musty basement. You’ll almost always find bags, boxes, or stacks of stuff wrapped with string. Your first Mother’s day card, crayon written, from 1st grade. ALL your report cards, class pictures, awards and ribbons long forgotten. Perhaps birth certificates or notices, any newspaper clippings. If you were away in the service or at college, you’ll find postcards and letters too.
They live in the past.
Whether you are 5, 15, or 50, you will always be “their little boy”. Be it a skinned knee, broken heart, shattered dreams, failed marriage, their arms are always open. The knee will be tended to, broken hearts usually salved with a word of wisdom and a hearty meal or two (“It’s your favorite!! Now, eat!”). Your dreams given new purpose or direction, with but a “Don’t let this stop you. I know you have it in you.” “Why, did you know all left handed people excel at what they are talented in?” “Just look at ____!” As for failed marriages, has ANY son married a woman who, at least early on in the relationship, met with a hundred percent approval rating from her? No one is either too good, or good enough, for her son. (The converse is true for fathers and son-in-laws, but that is a tale for another day.)
They forgive far too easily.
You may wound them in a thousand ways, forget a birthday, miss a promised visit, not write or call as often as you should. For some reason, if you show up at the door with a large bouquet of their favorite flowers, most all is forgiven.
They never forget.
Just leave your kids with grandma for a day. Then, when you have them back home, ask how their day went. Ask what they and grandma talked about. “Grandma’s cool!” “She told us about the time you got stuck in the tree next door.” “Grandma said when you were in school you were the best trumpet player in the whole band!” “Grandma got out the old photos of when you were a baby!” “Yeah, we saw daddy’s baby butt…hehehe.” Yep, they always remember what you did as a child and sometimes have pictures to back it up.
They like to talk.
Go over for a visit and the next thing you know, it’s time for a trip down memory lane. All the old family history comes up. There may even be stories about when she was a little girl or young lady, and what life was like back then. Usually punctuated with “We had to be tougher back then, there was a war on!” “You know movies were better….why your Great grandmother had garlic out round the house, for days, after seeing Dracula!”
They leave their mark.
You can look at a man and usually see his father in how he looks, in his manner, and overall how he presents himself. If you get to know him, really know him as a close friend or as a husband/lover, look into his eyes and to his soul…you will see his mother.
They leave much too soon.
And then they are gone. You are left with scrapbooks, school projects carefully preserved, photos, memories, and with any luck at all, the sudden realization you were well and truly, and unconditionally, loved.
Why did I write this now?
Well, one of the first things I did today was to talk on the phone (she called), with my mother. It wasn’t anything important, just about the usual things, how is she doing, what’s up with the rest of the family, and verbal side trips here and there.
After the call, I went online and looked around the net. The very first item which caught my eye was that a good friend (least I would like to consider him that) was grieving. His mother began a journey this morning, on a path not his to take right now. And though I believe with all my heart, his mamma knows, and is able to hear when he says “I love you mamma.” May the memories, and such, provide him with her response of; “I love you too son.”
Both of these, happening as they did, prompted this post.


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